Friday night. A lot of tequila slammers. A very noisy club.
Reasons, not excuses.
Reasons why I woke up to find myself in a wide white bed with only the vaguest of recollections how I got there.
I sat up and had me a think, remembering a tall dark drink of water I’d been intending to have my wicked way with – until the arrival of his wife.
I was about halfway down a few more drinks to drown my disappointment when this suit turned up. All dressed in the most expensive threads with a big diamond winking on his pinky, and a bad case of attitude. Had big, bad bodyguards too, carrying if I didn’t miss my guess.
Scored himself him a VIP enclosure, and watched with a sardonic eye as the money bunnies just about turned themselves inside out trying for his attention. Ignored them. Invited me.
I only crossed the ropes to annoy the bunnies. Him being not my type at all and me being always cautious of heat.
So how’d I get here? My little nose smelled spiked drinks, and that pissed me off so I got out of bed. Somebody had been kind enough to fold my clothes and drape them over a chair. The thong was toast, but I put the rest on and then slipped a couple of things I might have a use for later in my tiny little handbag.
I carefully opened the bedroom door, but there wasn’t any immediately obvious way out as one of the muscle was sitting in a hard chair by the door. He smiled a raptor’s smile and I responded by waggling my fingers. He gestured to a corridor on the the left and I teetered off thataway.
I could smell bacon and hear voices so I walked quietly along the thick carpet towards an open door. As I got closer, the words became clearer.
“She’s precisely what we want. Pretty as a picture and dumb as a stick. He won’t be able to resist her. And I have two weeks to mould her into becoming the instrument of his downfall. It will be a pleasure. On so many levels.”
A woman chuckled. “And she takes the fall for us when he turns up dead?”
I decided that now would be a good time to make some noise so I whistled a breathy little tune and wandered slowly towards the room making sure I still seemed a little woozy. The suit came out all in a rush, now dressed in designer jeans and obviously worried I might have heard him. I gave him my most dazzling and stupid smile. He bowed and offered me his arm.
Two hours later his driver was dropping me at the address on ‘my’ drivers licence. ‘Good luck with finding me here, boys,’ I thought. I walked in the front door, nodded to the uniformed concierge who dropped me the hint of a wink and made my way straight out the back. A taxi ride and I was at the station buying my ticket for the journey to Grandma’s gaff way out in the sticks.
She knew I was coming, of course she did, and my cousin Jethro awaited me – leaning on the bonnet of a truly filthy Land Rover. He uncurled his six feet odd of muscle and sinew and treated me to a sour look.
“Well here she is at last. I’ve been sitting on the station for three fecking hours waiting for you.”
I shrugged, which set a few things jiggling and was quite enough to coax Jethro out of his foul mood.
“Old lady losing her touch?”
“Not so as you’d notice. Says you been drugged and she won’t be in touch with you properly until all the shite is out of your system.” He turned his wide brown face to me. “Who,”he demanded in a voice pitched somewhere between awe and disgust, “just who was stupid enough to roofie one of this family?”
“I never did catch his name.”
“So he gets away with it?”
“Don’t be silly.”
Jethro chuckled and started the engine. It took us an hour to get to the place where a rutted lane branched off a little-used single-track road. As the Landy, whose mechanics were a good deal better maintained than the state of the exterior would suggest, crawled up the incline I breathed in the upland air and allowed myself a sigh of satisfaction. Jethro patted me with an understanding hand, but said nothing.
Grandma was at the gate of the chaotic garden around her little house. She indicated for me to get out of the vehicle and for Jethro to make himself scarce. Neither of us cared to argue the toss.
Over big mugs of ochre-coloured tea, I told her precisely what had happened. She wasn’t amused. She was not amused one little bit.
“What do you have for me?”
I rooted in my teeny little bag.
“Hair. Nail clippings. And this…”
I indicated the pink rubber balloon with a knot tied in it.
Grandma smiled although it wasn’t a nice expression, and I was reminded, if I needed a reminder, that my grandmother really wasn’t the sort of sweet little white-haired old lady that her age would suggest. She picked up the three items I had laid on the table between us and grunted out a laugh.
When the muppet was finished she gave it into my hands in an oddly formal gesture.
“Mould it, my granddaughter.”
I laughed and ran my fingernails over that which lay on the muppet’s waxy thigh.
In the west end of London, a smooth operator in a Savile Row suit doubled over in agony clutching his testicles and screaming.
‘Moulded’ from Pulling the Rug iii, a collection of short stories and poems by Jane Jago.
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